Utah Jazz notebook: Groin troubles have been keeping Raja Bell out

Published: Friday, Dec. 10 2010 11:00 p.m. MST

SALT LAKE CITY — It might not make Raja Bell's right adductor feel any better, but the Utah Jazz guard's left adductor can empathize with what the other one is experiencing.

For the second time this season, Bell missed action with a groin muscle injury. However, the usual starting shooting guard sat out Friday's game because of a strain on the opposite muscle.

Bell's status for tonight's game at Dallas is up in the air. Rookie Gordon Hayward replaced him in the starting lineup against Orlando, playing 17 minutes before leaving for good with foul problems early in the third quarter of Utah's 117-105 rout.

The 34-year-old Bell is unsure of why his adductors are taking turns giving him problems.

"I'm looking for some answers on how I can strengthen them," Bell said. "I haven't really had a groin issue before, but it seems like it's going from one side to the other."

Bell initially tweaked the right adductor during Monday's game. He played and practiced through it fine until late in Wednesday's Miami game when the injury flared up. Bell sat out practice Thursday and was ruled out for the Magic game at Friday morning's shootaround.

"I don't think it's anything that we won't be able to fix with some religious exercises and stuff like that," Bell said. "It's now just about getting this one healthy and then trying to strengthen them up."

Bell said he'll rest until the soreness subsides and he's able to move better.

SIDELINED PART II: Kyrylo Fesenko is no longer sporting a walking boot on his sprained left ankle, but he missed his second straight game because of the injury.

Fesenko was bummed not to play but encouraged that the swelling and bruising are almost gone.

"It's so much better than it used to be. ... I'm good to run. I'm good to almost jump full power, but I can't move side-to-side," Fesenko said. "So it's really frustrating. I was really hoping I would be able to go (Friday)."

STARTING AGAIN: Friday's game marked the second start in the young career of the 20-year-old Hayward, who was picked ninth overall by the Jazz in the 2010 NBA Draft in June.

The former Butler star admitted he's more comfortable than in his first on Nov. 15 — in a home loss to Oklahoma City — when Bell was absent with his first groin injury.

It was the rookie's first action in three games after not getting in the past two games. Hayward didn't score and had two rebounds and four fouls.

"He's got the tools," Jazz point guard Deron Williams said. "He knows he can play. He's just got to have that confidence to go out there and do it."

Williams and Jazz coach Jerry Sloan credited Hayward and fellow rookie Jeremy Evans for putting in extra time to improve.

"They need opportunities to play," Sloan said of his rookies. "I've got to try to get them both in the ball game. ... They've done a terrific job. You couldn't ask them to work harder."

Entering Friday's game, Hayward had averages of 2.1 points, 1.3 rebounds, 0..2 assists and 8.0 minutes in 18 appearances. The shooting guard had four points, two rebounds and 22 minutes in his first NBA start last month.

"It's just a tough situation for him," Williams said. "It's not like he's a lottery pick that came on a bad team. He came onto a playoff team, so it's been an adjustment for him and he's worked hard and hopefully he can make the most of this opportunity."

Evans played seven minutes, going scoreless but dishing out two assists with a rebound in his first action since Dec. 3.

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